The RuiAn Police Department in China recently dismantled a gang of hackers who were installing malware on the victims’ computers, using their resources to mine Siacoin (SC).
The information was covered by the Hz News newspaper, which mentioned some important numbers to understand the magnitude of this criminal operation.
According to the original news, RuiAn police were able to identify 16 members of this operation. They have already infected thousands of computers in more than 30 cities across the country, making an estimated profit of at least RMB 5.1 million, which would be equivalent to almost 1 million Dollars in a matter of months.
Mr Liu, a cybercafé owner who spoke to Hz News, said concerns arose when they noticed a significant drop in computer performance and an increase in electricity bills.
Seeing that the problem was common among other similar stores, the concerns turned into suspicion, prompting several business owners to file a collective complaint with the police:
“With so many computers collectively poisoning, and every month’s electricity bills escalating, this business simply cannot be done.” Seeing customers constantly losing, Mr. Liu and other Internet cafe owners have complained. On August 1 last year, many Internet cafe owners reported to the Ruian police collectively.”
The Internet Police Brigade of RuiAn City’s Public Security Bureau took the case and finally identified a hidden malware installed on the computers. This malware run once the computer was turned on and used its resources to mine Siacoin.
Unlike other similar malwares, such as those used to mine Monero (XMR), this program did not run in a stealth mode; on the contrary, it used as many resources as possible to mine, which made the users quickly suspicious. Police investigations are still in full swing, but they have been able to decipher the criminal group’s M.O. behind these computer attacks.
The leader of the organization (Liu) worked as a technical service and was the one who designed the malware; however, the work of installing the program on the computers was carried out by his accomplices, who were employees of the establishments pointed to be attacked. The names of the identified subjects are Zhou and Xiong.
After the virus was introduced, the profits from the mining were distributed among the members of the criminal organization. A total of about $1 million is estimated to be the result of illegal Siacoin mining.
During the investigation, RuiAn police identified other members of the criminal organization in Yunnan, Hunan, Sichuan, Jiangxi, Guizhou, Zhejiang and other places. The number of people captured so far is 12 who were sentenced to prosecutions on charges of illegal control of computer information systems, crimes of tools and the illegal control of computer information systems.
The investigation is still ongoing, so it is hoped that the number of detainees may increase. The number of affected computers has not been 100% identified although the band is already inoperative due to the efforts of the police.